Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal are not part of India’s 18-member squad for the five T20Is in the Caribbean starting later this month. The squad led by Rohit Sharma has KL Rahul potentially making a return subject to a fitness clearance.
ESPNcricinfo has learnt Kohli, Bumrah and Chahal have been rested, and Kohli, who picked up a “mild groin strain” in England, continues to remain in the team management’s plans for the T20 World Cup later this year despite his lean form.
Offspinner R Ashwin, who hasn’t featured in India’s T20I side since the home series against New Zealand last November, has made a comeback to shore up a spin department that includes Kuldeep Yadav (subject to fitness), Ravi Bishnoi, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant, who have been rested from the ODI leg, will play the T20Is.
Umran Malik, the rookie tearaway quick, did not find a place in the squad, with the selectors picking left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh in the seam bowling department along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel.
Having made his T20I debut in Ireland, Malik was also part of the recently concluded T20I series in England, which India won 2-1. In his lone outing in Nottingham, Malik conceded 1 for 56 off his four overs. Arshdeep, meanwhile, took 2 for 18 in an impressive debut in the opening T20I, when he troubled England’s openers with swing.
Prior to the T20I series in England, Rohit publicly backed Kohli despite his lean run of scores that have sparked continuous debate over his position in the team.
“I don’t know who the experts are,” Rohit had said last week. “I don’t even understand why they are called experts. They are watching it from outside, they don’t know what is going on the inside. We are building a team. A lot of deliberation goes behind it. There is a lot of thinking behind it. Boys are backed. Boys are given chances. People outside don’t know all these things. It is not important what is going on outside.”
Ishan Kishan has been chosen as the reserve opener and second wicketkeeper for the West Indies T20Is, should Rahul slot back into the XI. Rahul is currently at the NCA in Bengaluru, having returned from a surgery for sports hernia in Germany late June.
He has been out of action since early June, when the illness flared prior to the start of the home series against South Africa. Initially diagnosed as a groin injury, Rahul was withdrawn from the squads for the tour of England. Prior to that, he had led new franchise Lucknow Super Giants to the IPL 2022 playoffs. He ended the season as the second-highest run-scorer, with 616 runs in 15 innings at an average of 51.33 and a strike rate of 135.38.
Deepak Hooda, who made his maiden T20I century in Ireland in June, has been retained in Kohli’s absence, as have Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav.
India begin their Caribbean tour with an ODI series, in which they will be captained by Shikhar Dhawan in the absence of the senior players. The five T20Is begin on July 29 in Tarouba, followed by matches on August 1 and 2 in St Kitts, before the series moves to Florida in the USA for the final two matches on August 6 and 7.
India’s squad for the five T20Is: Rohit Sharma (capt), Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul*, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav*, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.
*The inclusion of KL Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav is subject to fitness.